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Georgian Muslims protest against Charlie Hebdo

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, January 21
Muslims of the village of Duisi, in Pankisi Gorge, demonstrated Monday against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for publishing a caricature depicting the Prophet Mohammad on January 14.

They stressed that they are against terrorism, but condemn offending their religion in the name of freedom of expression as well.

The people claimed that even though the newspaper was attacked by terrorists, it continues its provocative activities and depicts the cartoons of the prophet Mohamed, which is unacceptable for the Muslim population.

“Today we condemn the cartoons that have touched every religion and insulted what is most sacred,” organizers say. “No matter how they cover it with democracy or freedom of speech, there is no justification for such action. Freedom of expression doesn’t have to be mockery of one’s beliefs.”

Pankisi Gorge borders with the Chechen Republic, which is part of the Russian Federation. The majority of the population are Kists. Tens of young men from the gorge are fighting in Syria, alongside the so-called Islamic State.

Several days ago, the Georgian Orthodox Church also released a statement with regard to the newspaper, which reads that any state should provide for “limits to freedom of expression” in order to protect the rights of believers against the “insult of religious feelings.”

“The state is obliged to protect limits to freedom of expression in order to defend other internationally recognized human rights. We also note that the Christian tradition has always entailed peaceful and good neighborly relations with communities of other cultures and religion,” the Georgian Orthodox Church said.

The Georgian government, and the parliamentary opposition were unanimous that terrorism has no justification.

12 died and ten were injured in the January 7 terrorist attack against the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Earlier, the magazine published a cartoon of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.